If you had ~$4K for a 2 Channel Amplifier... - Page 6 - AVS Forum | Home Theater Discussions And Reviews
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post #151 of 167 Old 11-23-2019, 02:41 PM
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Originally Posted by _tk View Post
Appreciate the thorough reply, but as I said...I specifically left out a few variables because I didn't want to be pigeonholed into one type, brand or style. I don't know all of the manufacturers out there and for those I was not aware of, I went and researched.

I did order and test out one integrated but unfortunately it didn't work out quite like I wanted/hoped. It was 90% of what I was looking for but that remaining 10% was a deal-breaker.

There's another on my list right now that I will probably order in the near future but I'm waiting until later on in the year when I'm done with vacations and such.
Honestly I would:

a) go used
b) stretch a bit for a used Pass INT-60. I got mine for a little under $5k used ($9k MSRP), in truly excellent condition, and it drives my KEF Reference 3's with aplomb. The first 30WPC are pure class A and according to the meter on the front the KEFs never pull it into Class B. It doesn't have an in-built phono stage (I use a Graham Slee Accession which would push your budget higher, but there are many available for far less)

Good luck!
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post #152 of 167 Old 11-23-2019, 02:51 PM
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I would go for Benchmark DAC3 as a pre and then Hypex Ncore NC400 monoblocks for poweramps. Any additional features needed I'd get a separate box for. Both Benchmark and Ncore products have shown time and time again on the test bench that they are well engineered products.

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post #153 of 167 Old 11-26-2019, 04:43 AM
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Originally Posted by philipbtz View Post
I would go for Benchmark DAC3 as a pre and then Hypex Ncore NC400 monoblocks for poweramps. Any additional features needed I'd get a separate box for. Both Benchmark and Ncore products have shown time and time again on the test bench that they are well engineered products.
This is the best answer. Also, the new Purifi modules out now. For amps (and DACs) especially, price does not necessarily indicate quality.
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post #154 of 167 Old 11-26-2019, 11:30 AM
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Originally Posted by philipbtz View Post
I would go for Benchmark DAC3 as a pre and then Hypex Ncore NC400 monoblocks for poweramps. Any additional features needed I'd get a separate box for. Both Benchmark and Ncore products have shown time and time again on the test bench that they are well engineered products.
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This is the best answer. Also, the new Purifi modules out now. For amps (and DACs) especially, price does not necessarily indicate quality.
With all due respect, if you took the time to read the OP's post, he specifically asked for an integrated amp. He even specified that he didn't need/want a DAC. To me it's pretty clear he wants a one-box solution. Suggesting a 3-box solution which includes features he says he doesn't want doesn't seem to add much to the conversation. If you find the quality of these products superior and a good value, great. I just don't think it adds much to the discussion given the OP's request.

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post #155 of 167 Old 11-26-2019, 12:16 PM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by anthonymoody View Post
With all due respect, if you took the time to read the OP's post, he specifically asked for an integrated amp. He even specified that he didn't need/want a DAC. To me it's pretty clear he wants a one-box solution. Suggesting a 3-box solution which includes features he says he doesn't want doesn't seem to add much to the conversation. If you find the quality of these products superior and a good value, great. I just don't think it adds much to the discussion given the OP's request.

This is correct. I wanted an integrated amp, not a shelf full of new separates. I already have everything else that I need in this specific location I want the amp to be in.

Although this thread is pretty old now. I've already had (and returned) one of my choices and even tried a second. My next purchase will probably be a Luxman integrated as that seems to be the style and sound that I like.
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post #156 of 167 Old 11-26-2019, 12:23 PM
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This is correct. I wanted an integrated amp, not a shelf full of new separates. I already have everything else that I need in this specific location I want the amp to be in.



Although this thread is pretty old now. I've already had (and returned) one of my choices and even tried a second. My next purchase will probably be a Luxman integrated as that seems to be the style and sound that I like.


You tried either the Anthem STR our a PrimaLuna Dialogue HP?


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post #157 of 167 Old 11-26-2019, 12:29 PM
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Originally Posted by _tk View Post
This is correct. I wanted an integrated amp, not a shelf full of new separates. I already have everything else that I need in this specific location I want the amp to be in.

Although this thread is pretty old now. I've already had (and returned) one of my choices and even tried a second. My next purchase will probably be a Luxman integrated as that seems to be the style and sound that I like.

I would get a used McIntosh integrated amp -- something like a MA6300 that has a phono input.

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post #158 of 167 Old 11-26-2019, 12:35 PM
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I would go for Benchmark DAC3 as a pre and then Hypex Ncore NC400 monoblocks for poweramps. Any additional features needed I'd get a separate box for. Both Benchmark and Ncore products have shown time and time again on the test bench that they are well engineered products.
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This is the best answer. Also, the new Purifi modules out now. For amps (and DACs) especially, price does not necessarily indicate quality.
Hypex Ncore looks interesting. First time read about them. What is their best amp in terms of pure sound quality?
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post #159 of 167 Old 11-26-2019, 02:46 PM
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Originally Posted by Shangri-La View Post
Hypex Ncore looks interesting. First time read about them. What is their best amp in terms of pure sound quality?


The studio monitors I use at work have Hypex UcD amp modules with trickle down N Core architecture. It’s significantly better, as I’ve heard it implemented, than any other class-D amp tech aside from the Cherry Maraschino amps. Haven’t heard the Benchmarks but a buddy at work just ordered one and is going to report back on how he liked it. He currently uses a Hypex N Core based amp.


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post #160 of 167 Old 11-26-2019, 05:58 PM
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The studio monitors I use at work have Hypex UcD amp modules with trickle down N Core architecture. It’s significantly better, as I’ve heard it implemented, than any other class-D amp tech aside from the Cherry Maraschino amps. Haven’t heard the Benchmarks but a buddy at work just ordered one and is going to report back on how he liked it. He currently uses a Hypex N Core based amp.


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Thanks. The only experience I had with class D amp is with PS Audio M700 which was surprisingly good. I had also auditioned the Benchmark AHB2 which was simplly amazing. Interested in knowing your colleague's thoughts on the Hypex/Benchmark comparison.
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post #161 of 167 Old 11-26-2019, 07:26 PM
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I would get a used McIntosh integrated amp -- something like a MA6300 that has a phono input.
You happened to mention the only McIntosh integrated amplifier that I have ever heard that hurt my ears. I wanted an MA6300 for a secondary stereo system and preordered one prior to its release. The MA6300, now discontinued, was their entry level integrated amplifier at the time. I had thought it would sound very similar to our MA6500. It did not.

McIntosh voiced the MA6300 unlike its predecessors and successors. If anyone prefers a really bright and in-your-face amp, it is ideal. I had wished it had tone controls, especially a treble knob. But this unit, unlike any other Mac integrated amp of which I am aware, has none.

I still recall that after about two weeks of ownership, my wife came into the room for a first listen and sat down while I was playing a CD. After about one or two songs she complained about the sonics, which she had never done before with any component. She found it so bright that she was happy when I said it was going back--another first for her.

Before I eagerly returned it to the dealer I traced the brightness to the power amp section. The preamp section sounded nice, typically McIntosh.

Finally, the sonics were not unique to my sample. I am aware of others who had the same issue.
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post #162 of 167 Old 11-26-2019, 07:49 PM
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You happened to mention the only McIntosh integrated amplifier that I have ever heard that hurt my ears. I wanted an MA6300 for a secondary stereo system and preordered one prior to its release. The MA6300, now discontinued, was their entry level integrated amplifier at the time. I had thought it would sound very similar to our MA6500. It did not.

McIntosh voiced the MA6300 unlike its predecessors and successors. If anyone prefers a really bright and in-your-face amp, it is ideal. I had wished it had tone controls, especially a treble knob. But this unit, unlike any other Mac integrated amp of which I am aware, has none.

I still recall that after about two weeks of ownership, my wife came into the room for a first listen and sat down while I was playing a CD. After about one or two songs she complained about the sonics, which she had never done before with any component. She found it so bright that she was happy when I said it was going back--another first for her.

Before I eagerly returned it to the dealer I traced the brightness to the power amp section. The preamp section sounded nice, typically McIntosh.

Finally, the sonics were not unique to my sample. I am aware of others who had the same issue.

Oddly enough, I originally suggested an MA6500, but didn't like it's combined Aux/Phono input, so then I edited the post to suggest the MA6300 because it had a dedicated Phono input. I don't have experience with either one though. I do have a 6-channal McIntosh home theater I'm quite fond of.
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post #163 of 167 Old 11-26-2019, 10:32 PM
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Oddly enough, I originally suggested an MA6500, but didn't like it's combined Aux/Phono input, so then I edited the post to suggest the MA6300 because it had a dedicated Phono input. I don't have experience with either one though. I do have a 6-channal McIntosh home theater I'm quite fond of.
The MA6500 has an exceptionally fine built-in MM phono preamp. For those who do not need it, there is a rear-panel switch that moves those RCA jacks over to the line section. That provides an extra line input, which is convenient if one uses an outboard MM/MC phono preamp, for example.

What McIntosh HT component are you using?

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post #164 of 167 Old 11-27-2019, 04:19 AM
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Originally Posted by Shangri-La View Post
Hypex Ncore looks interesting. First time read about them. What is their best amp in terms of pure sound quality?
nc400 DIY monoblocks are the best measuring amps they deliver and as far as i know the only ones on the market that measure better are the Benchmark AHB2 but they are a completely different price point(there are also the Purify modules). There are measurements here https://www.audiosciencereview.com/f...-diy-amp.5907/ but please note that the person that build that unit did a gimped version with only one power supply for both channels. If you look at the measurement of where he looks at only one channel you get a glimpse of how the mono blocks perform.
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post #165 of 167 Old 11-27-2019, 04:30 AM
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Originally Posted by anthonymoody View Post
With all due respect, if you took the time to read the OP's post, he specifically asked for an integrated amp. He even specified that he didn't need/want a DAC. To me it's pretty clear he wants a one-box solution. Suggesting a 3-box solution which includes features he says he doesn't want doesn't seem to add much to the conversation. If you find the quality of these products superior and a good value, great. I just don't think it adds much to the discussion given the OP's request.
With all due respect I did.

Quote:
...
...
I want to make sure that I'm not missing anything that I should be checking out. I specifically didn't want to narrow anything down (just yet). Not a lot of places to check this stuff out locally for me so this is more than likely going to be an internet purchase.

Thoughts, ideas, etc? Again, I have a list that I've narrowed, but I'm sure I'm not considering something that I should be.
Sure he did mention that he didn't need a DAC or whatever but looking at the price points being talked about here I think one should at least consider separate boxes. There is hard data on the performance on the units I recommended and it measures really well. I just wanted to throw it out there then the OP can decide for himself if it's worth looking into. I have not seen a single box solution coming close in measurements as separate box solution. But performance is not everything and everyone can decide for themselves. I think it's taking it too far saying it doesn't add anything to the discussion. That's my opinion at least.

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post #166 of 167 Old 11-27-2019, 09:12 AM
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The MA6500 has an exceptionally fine built-in MM phono preamp. For those who do not need it, there is a rear-panel switch that moves those RCA jacks over to the line section. That provides an extra line input, which is convenient if one uses an outboard MM/MC phono preamp, for example.
As stated, I don't know anything about their integrated amps. I was just tossing out a broad-based suggestion of McIntosh integrated amps in the OP's price target. I didn't personally think the combined Aux/Phono was a disadvantage, but thought the optics of it might be less appealing to the OP since a phono input was listed as a requirement. From your experience, how do you think an older used McIntosh integrated amp in the $4k range would compare to the latest available amps in that same price range? Also, which of the older integrated McIntosh amps would be considered the best, and the best value? (Sounds like the 6500 is a candidate).

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What McIntosh HT component are you using?
I have the MC-7106 6-channel amp. Bought it a very long time ago and it was one of the best A/V decisions I've made. I've been through 4 AV processors over the years (Rotel, Krell, Sunfire, Emotiva) with the same amp and I plan to still be using for the next several AV processors in the future. I have 5 7106 channels driving the 5.1 and the 6th channel driving 4 shakers (I use a small Luxman amp to extend audio to 7.1). I could bridge the center channel on the 7106 instead of using one channel to drive shakers, but it has more than enough power unbridged.
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post #167 of 167 Old 11-27-2019, 07:26 PM
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As stated, I don't know anything about their integrated amps. I was just tossing out a broad-based suggestion of McIntosh integrated amps in the OP's price target. I didn't personally think the combined Aux/Phono was a disadvantage, but thought the optics of it might be less appealing to the OP since a phono input was listed as a requirement. From your experience, how do you think an older used McIntosh integrated amp in the $4k range would compare to the latest available amps in that same price range? Also, which of the older integrated McIntosh amps would be considered the best, and the best value? (Sounds like the 6500 is a candidate).

I have the MC-7106 6-channel amp. Bought it a very long time ago and it was one of the best A/V decisions I've made. I've been through 4 AV processors over the years (Rotel, Krell, Sunfire, Emotiva) with the same amp and I plan to still be using for the next several AV processors in the future. I have 5 7106 channels driving the 5.1 and the 6th channel driving 4 shakers (I use a small Luxman amp to extend audio to 7.1). I could bridge the center channel on the 7106 instead of using one channel to drive shakers, but it has more than enough power unbridged.
I do not pay much attention to the used market, nor do I have any idea what the following used McIntosh integrated amplifiers sell for today:

The MA6800 and MA6850 from the 1990s have excellent reputations for sound quality. I almost bought a used MA6850 from Audio Classics in 2002. I opted instead for a new MA6500 from a local dealer in NJ who shipped it to me soon after we moved to Florida.

The MA6900 is another terrific amp, coming from the same generation as the MA6500. It has additional features and retailed for a higher price.

The MA6600 (all analog), introduced in 2009, would be worth checking out. I almost bought a brand-new leftover in 2017. I decided to purchase one to replace our MA6500. I have long wanted a high-end stereo preamp or integrated amp with remote control of balance. The MA6600 has it. The McIntosh dealer said the MA6600 is voiced slightly brighter than its predecessors (MA6500, MA6900, and earlier). Our conversation about solid-state and tube gear led the salesman to advise me to go with my original desire to return to an all-tube system. He is an honest fellow who lost a sure sale. I ended up with a new Cary tube integrated amp purchased elsewhere and kept the MA6500. I still wish I had a remote balance control, but my ears are very happy.

I have not heard the current generation, the ones with built-in digital sections.

Finally, I would not be surprised if your MC7106 sounds very similar to the power amp section of the MA6500--smooth, rich, clean, dead quiet, and with an expansive soundstage.

Happy Thanksgiving!
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Theater room: Panasonic 65S60 plasma television; Yamaha RX-A2020 (preamp section); Adcom GFA-5503 and GFA-5400 amplifiers; Polk LSi25, LSiC, and LSiF/X loudspeaker system; Velodyne FSR-18 servo-subwoofer.
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